How a couple handles money, including credit scores, can be...

How a couple handles money, including credit scores, can be a predictor to how successful their marriage will be, experts say. Credit: iStock

Do credit scores matter in marriage? According to preliminary research from the Federal Reserve Board, if your credit score differs widely from your partner's, there's a good chance you'll get divorced. The closer your scores, the more likely you won't.

Opposites weren't meant for each other

"If one spouse has a low credit score, that's a threat to the stability of the marriage," says Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in Vista, Calif.

How so? "A low credit score can get in the way of a couple's goals and dreams, like when they need to apply for a loan," explains Leslie Tayne, a debt specialist with Tayne Law Group in Melville.

It goes beyond money

 The bigger the difference, the more likely the spouses have divergent attitudes toward spending and saving.

"One may feel life is short, eat dessert first, while the other is more prudent about spending," cautions Beverly Hills, Calif., psychiatrist Carole Lieberman. "These different attitudes toward money reflect larger personality differences and attitudes," she says.

Don't assume they'll change

Pasadena, Calif., family law attorney Mark Baer offers this advice: "It sounds ridiculous and unromantic to compare credit scores before deciding to marry, but it's hard for someone to change their relationship with money," he says.

"The question is not whether you can change someone, but whether you will be happily married to them, warts and all."

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